Eric Greitens | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens

Sikeston Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Drew Juden will lead Missouri's Department of Public Safety, following his selection by Gov.-elect Eric Greitens Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens introduced Sikeston Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Drew Juden to lead the state Department of Public Safety on Monday. St. Louis Fire Department Captain Gregg Favre will be deputy director. Greitens said their job is supporting those in the public safety sector and Juden said he would “have their backs.”

The Missouri Capitol Building in Jefferson City, Mo. Legislative action here on Thursday by Sen. Jason Crowell would refer the "right-to-work" issue to voters next year.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not since Matt Blunt was governor of Missouri nearly a decade ago did the Republican Party control both the executive branch and both houses of the legislature. Even then, there were enough Democrats in both the House and Senate to block any veto override attempts, rare as they were then.

That will differ once Eric Greitens takes the oath of office and has the benefit of veto-proof GOP majorities in both chambers.

Reny Alfonso, 7, carries American flag pinwheels at the "Forward Together" bus tour kickoff event outside the Missouri History Museum Sunday afternoon.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Out of the seemingly infinite adjectives to describe politics in 2016, the one that came to mind is exhausting.

This year featured enough twists, turns, surprises, setbacks, revelations, triumphs and defeats to fill a set of encyclopedias. From competitive presidential and statewide primaries to epic general election battles, 2016 will clearly be remembered as a watershed year in the Show Me State's political history.

A marching band in Missouri's 2012 inaugural parade in Jefferson City.
Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is showing right off the bat that he’s eager to break with tradition. He’s nixing the traditional inaugural parade – featuring high school bands and convertibles – that in the past has snaked through Jefferson City before the swearing-in ceremony, set for Jan. 9 at noon.

Instead, a spokesman told reporters Thursday that Greitens plans to review a formation of National Guard troops on the grounds of the state Capitol.

This collage includes pictures of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon from every year of his tenure.
Provided by Gov. Nixon's office and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s tenure in the executive branch ends, he's leaving something of a paradoxical legacy.

The Democratic statewide official achieved nearly unprecedented political success for himself, even as his party lost huge areas of support in rural Missouri. After his promises to expand the state’s Medicaid program ran into intractable opposition, Nixon spent a sizable part of his tenure paring back state governmental agencies.

KB35 | Flickr

With a new Missouri governor ready to take over, lawmakers are trying once again to solve an old problem: how students in unaccredited school districts can get the education they deserve.

Since the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the transfer law in 2013, students in unaccredited districts have had the right to enroll in nearby accredited districts, at the cost of millions of dollars to their home districts that had to pay tuition and in some cases transportation as well.

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens hugs Rev. Ken McKoy, a pastor with Progressive Zion A.M.E. Church. Greitens walked with McKoy as part of NightLIFE, a group that seeks to curb violence in north St. Louis neighborhoods.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The bone-chilling streets of north St. Louis were largely empty last Friday night. An icy mist brought both automobile and foot traffic on Kingshighway to a halt, with the exception of a few cars and trucks – and a governor-elect.

On pavement that at times resembled an ice skating rink, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens walked methodically through the sidewalks and on the streets with a medium-sized scrum. The Republican chief executive-to-be was out with NightLIFE, a group seeking to curb violence in Fountain Park and Lewis Place neighborhoods.

House Speaker Todd Richardson and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard spent time talking in the Senate chamber on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photos

House Speaker Todd Richardson joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

In his third appearance on the show, Richardson – a Republican from Poplar Bluff – lays out his key objectives for the coming legislative session. For the first time in eight years, the GOP will control the legislative and executive branches of Missouri state government.

Todd Graves
LinkedIn

Updated Dec. 14 with Graves' comments — Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is naming former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves, now a Kansas City lawyer, as the new chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

Graves is the brother of U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, and served as U.S. attorney for Missouri’s western district from 2001-2006, a post filled by then-President George W. Bush.

“Todd Graves is the governor-elect’s choice and he will make a fantastic chairman,’’ a Greitens spokesman said. Graves said in an interview that he's honored to take the job, particularly after the Missouri GOP did so well in the November elections.

Sen. Brian Munzlinger
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome Sen. Brian Munzlinger.

Munzlinger is a Republican from Williamstown, an unincorporated community in Lewis County in northeast Missouri. He represents a mammoth district that includes Adair, Chariton, Clark, Knox, Lewis, Linn, Macon, Marion, Pike, Schuyler, Scotland, Shelby, Ralls, and Randolph counties.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, was one of the biggest proponents of using the previous question to pass "right to work."
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will become a right-to-work state. The chief question is how soon the General Assembly will put a version of the anti-union measure on the desk of soon-to-be Gov. Eric Greitens.

The other unknown is what particular form of “right to work’’ Missouri’s new law will take.

Under "right to work," unions and employers cannot require all workers in a bargaining unit to pay dues or fees. Although some versions of right to work say a worker cannot be required to join a union, federal law has barred such a requirement for a long time.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster
Carolina Hidalgo and Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Governor-elect Eric Greitens appears to have set a record as he outraised and outspent all comers in his successful bid for Missouri’s highest office.  He collected about $31 million and spent about $29 million, combined, in this year's primary and general-election contests.

But the final campaign reports, filed Thursday, show that Greitens, a Republican, was actually outspent during the three-month general election fight by his losing Democratic rival --  Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon remembers Judge Teitelman on Dec. 1, 2016.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Speaking with reporters in St. Louis on Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon said he’s “ready to appoint if the chief justice wants to call a commission together.” That’s a reference to how Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice Patricia Breckenridge would have to start the process to replace Richard Teitelman, a Missouri Supreme Court judge who died last month.

“I’d be certainly be willing to do that and I think there’s a lot of good candidates for it,” Nixon said. “I have never in my eight years called a commissioner and asked them to put somebody on a panel. And in this situation, that’s up to the courts. I do think with an opening, you could get it done if there’s enough time to. But that’s their choice, not mine.”

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Updated Dec. 8  from Dec. 1 article to reflect more donations and suit actually filed - Opponents filed suit Wednesday to block part of Missouri’s new campaign donation law slated to go into effect Thurday. The suit doesn't challenge the new campaign-finance limits, but does ask the court to block a ban on some donors.

Meanwhile, some politicians – notably Gov.-elect Eric Greitens – appear to be taking advantage of the guaranteed one-month window to stock up on cash before the new limits go into effect. On Wednesday, the final day of unlimited donations, Greitens collected $2,382,860.

Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens listens as wife Sheena talks about her expirence of being robbed to reporters in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Updated after Eric and Sheena Greitens' Tuesday press conference - Gov.-elect Eric Greitens is praising the quick work of law enforcement, and expressing sentiments of forgiveness, after Missouri's future First Lady was robbed at gunpoint on Monday night.

St. Louis police said in an emailed statement to St. Louis Public Radio that Sheena Greitens was sitting in her car near Cafe Ventana in St. Louis' Central West End neighborhood. Her car door was suddenly opened by a suspect, who then pointed a gun at Sheena Greitens and demanded her property. She gave the suspect her laptop and cell phone.

Rep. Stephen Webber
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

You could say that state Rep. Stephen Webber is used to getting questions about how his age parlays with his ability to succeed in politics.

While working at the Columbia Daily Tribune in 2008, I was the first reporter to call Webber when he announced his candidacy for a Columbia-based state House seat. He was 24 when he jumped into the race, the youngest possible age someone could be to run for the Missouri House.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens and Gov. Jay Nixon talked about transition on Nov. 10, 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Weeks before the new Missouri governor is about to take office, he’s faced with a state-government budget shortfall that requires immediate cuts of several hundred million dollars.

But the governor-elect in question isn’t Republican Eric Greitens, who will be sworn in Jan. 9 amid concern over a current state budget that may need trims of $200 million.

The governor-elect with the much larger budget headache was Democrat Jay Nixon in January 2009, as he prepared to become Missouri’s new governor.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
HOK

Updated on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 3 p.m. to include new offer from Foundry St. Louis -

A decision on an offer to cover a funding gap for a proposed soccer stadium in St. Louis could rest with the top professional league in the U.S.

 

Two groups have been trying to secure a local MLS expansion franchise and one is suggesting a partnership that could eliminate the need for public money. Foundry St. Louis officials say they are willing to put $80 million into the $200 million project proposed by SC STL.

 

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says it isn't up to the city to approve such a plan.

 

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, left, presents Congressional Gold Medal to the widow of blues legend Johnnie Johnson, to mark his service in World War II.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is praising Missouri’s new governor-elect – Republican Eric Greitens – for reaching out to her in what she sees as a signal of possible cooperation, at least in some areas.

In an interview, McCaskill said the two talked right before Thanksgiving. “Governor Greitens called me and we had a great conversation,” she said.

Kirk Mathews
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Durrie Bouscaren welcome state Rep. Kirk Mathews to the program for the first time.

The Pacific Republican was first elected to the Missouri House in 2014, winning the open House seat that was once held by House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka. He recently won re-election without any significant opposition.

Gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster became the first Democrat endorsed by the Missouri Farm Bureau for a statewide office.
File Photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Stunned by the magnitude of their Election Day losses, Missouri’s Democratic leaders are taking stock as they seek to regroup.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she’s in the midst of “a listening tour’’ to gauge where she and other party activists went wrong, and what needs to be done. But McCaskill emphasized in an interview that she doesn’t buy into the narrative that Missouri Democrats were punished at the polls for ignoring rural voters and working-class whites.

Incoming House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, is warning of tough budgetary choices ahead for Gov.-elect Eric Greitens.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

As noted last week, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will have a lot of latitude to bring about major policy changes – thanks to huge Republican majorities in the General Assembly. But it’s becoming abundantly clear that Greitens will encounter more than just the glory of legislative accomplishment when he’s sworn in next year.

That’s because both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the House Budget Committee believe Greitens will have to dive into the not-so-fun task of withholding tens of millions of dollars from Missouri’s budget. It will be first big governmental test for Greitens, who has no elected experience.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens shakes hands with Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, last week.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the Thursday after his resounding victory in the Missouri governor’s race, Eric Greitens spent the morning at the Missouri Capitol meeting with Gov. Jay Nixon and huddling up with the Senate Republican supermajority. Greitens ended up shaking lots of hands of fellow Republicans who could help make his campaign agenda into the laws of the land. 

When he stepped into the Capitol hallways, Greitens could hardly contain his enthusiasm about the months ahead.

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov.-elect Eric Greitens plans to have two transition teams in place shortly: one to organize his January inaugural and the other to tackle his GOP takeover of the state’s executive branch.

To that end, Greitens is seeking guidance and advice from the outgoing governor, Democrat Jay Nixon.

Senior adviser Austin Chambers praised the reception that Greitens received Thursday during his first meeting with Nixon and top members of his administration.

Eric and Sheena Greitens hold their sons, Joshua and Jacob, while speaking to reporters after casting their ballots the St. Louis Public Library in the Central West End on Tuesday.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans Tuesday night experienced their greatest triumph in the Show Me State’s modern history. And Missouri Democrats had arguably their worst night ever.

Those two declarative statements may seem like hyperbole, but it’s pretty close to the truth. Tuesday marked the first time ever Republicans won seven statewide elections in a single night. And with commanding majorities in the Missouri General Assembly, Gov.-elect Eric Greitens will be in a profoundly powerful position to enact his agenda – and to sign longstanding GOP priorities into law.

Eric Greitens addresses the crowd at his victory party on Nov. 9, 2016.
File photo| Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Republicans won big Tuesday, sweeping all statewide offices and putting the party almost totally in charge of the Missouri Capitol beginning in January.

And in part, they have Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to thank. His Missouri coattails of 20 percentage points arguably provided a strong wind at the GOP’s back.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Koster, with Senate candidate Jason Kander in the background, and Republican Eric Greitens end their day-before election blitz in St. Louis.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI and Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated with late rallies) - Nothing illustrates the tightness of Missouri’s top contests – and the pivotal role of St. Louis area voters – like dueling rallies held within hours of each other.

So does the last-minute appeals by President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Late Monday, Trump tweeted his support for GOP gubernatorial nominee Eric Greitens. Meanwhile, Obama is appearing in a radio ad and in robocalls for the Democrat running for governor, Chris Koster.

A collage of Missouri statewide and area congressional candidates on 2016 ballot
File photos | St. Louis Public Radio

As this election season finally winds down, St. Louis Public Radio is putting together a lot of the campaign coverage we did this year in the hope that readers can find the information they need before casting their votes. 

Screen captures from ads by Democrat Chris Koster, top, and Republican Eric Greitens
YouTube

If you think you’re being bombarded with TV ads for Missouri’s governor’s contest, you’re right. The Missouri governor’s race is the top state-level contest in the country, when it comes to ad spending, and ads airing.

That’s according to the Center for Public Integrity, an award-winning nonpartisan nonprofit that tracks political spending. It says that Missouri’s battle for governor, including last summer’s nasty GOP primary, is responsible for about 27 percent of the nation’s TV ads aired for state-level contests this year, and about 13 percent of the ad spending.

Eric Greitens, left, and Chris Koster with images of money
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s $45 million and counting for Missouri’s two major-party nominees for governor as they head into the home stretch.

That’s how much Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens have raised, as of Friday, in their record-setting battle. So far, they’ve spent close to $36 million (some of it before the Aug. 2 primary.)

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